Islanders move on with double OT win over Panthers

Mon Apr 25, 2016 1:14am EDT
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(The Sports Xchange) - It took the New York Islanders just shy of 23 years -- 8,381 days, to be exact -- to finally win a postseason series. They would like to wait only a couple weeks to win another one.

Islanders captain John Tavares cemented his status in franchise lore on Sunday, scoring in the final minute of regulation to force overtime and then scoring in the second overtime to give New York a 2-1 win in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference quarter-finals at Barclays Center.

The Islanders' third overtime win -- and second double-overtime win in as many games -- gave them a 4-2 series win. New York will face the Tampa Bay Lightning in the conference semifinals later this week.

"We want to enjoy tonight, but we want to keep this thing going," Tavares said. "We've got a special group. We believe we can do something special."

The postseason series win is the first for the Islanders since 1993 -- so long ago the NHL had just 24 teams and still went by traditional hockey names for its divisions and conferences.

The Islanders beat the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins -- with the latter series concluding May 14, 1993 -- that spring to emerge from the Patrick Division before falling to the eventual Stanley Cup champion Montreal Canadiens in the Wales Conference finals.

"It's been a long time coming, honestly," Islanders right winger Cal Clutterbuck said. "It's just good to be the team that kind of allows people to enjoy the moment, to get over that hump."

Clutterbuck said he and his teammates would revel in the moment as well -- for a little while, at least.

"We've got a lot of work to do," Clutterbuck said. "We're trying to win the Stanley Cup."   Continued...

The New York Islanders are congratulated by the the Florida Panthers during the ceremonial handshake line after defeating the Panthers in double overtime in game six of the first round of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Barclays Center. The Islanders defeated the Panthers 2-1 to win the series four games to two. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports